Faculty recitals: Fall preview

The Weber State University Department of Performing Arts will soon present two faculty recital concerts.

One will be performed by Thom Priest, chair of the performing arts and bassoon teacher. The other performance will be by Michael Palumbo, director of orchestral studies and viola teacher.

To Priest, 11-year professor at WSU, the bassoon has been the instrument of choice since the young age of 11. For the last 40 years, Priest has both performed with and taught the bassoon.

“I think people will really enjoy the music I picked,” Priest said.

As a musician, Priest said he realizes the importance of music in connecting different societies.

“Music is found in all cultures, and is something we are constantly turning to,” Priest said. “Music communicates things that are important but that we do not have words to say.”

Priest will be accompanied by Palumbo during his recital.

“Dr. Palumbo and the other music staff are great musicians,” he said. “Working with them is like getting a music lesson for myself. We learn from each other.”

The two musicians will collaborate on the same piece, “Three Short Stories,” in both of their respective recitals. Palumbo will also be joined in his recital by Shi-Hwa Wang, a WSU violin professor. Faculty members, according to Palumbo, try to collaborate whenever possible because of their shared skill levels.

“They’re both really good players and good musicians,” said Palumbo of Priest and Wang. “They’re a lot of fun to work with, and it’s always nice to work with high-quality performers.”

Though Palumbo plays most string instruments and instructs the university orchestra, he primarily plays the viola, an instrument he said he is “most familiar with.”

“I started as a violinist as a kid,” he said. “By my junior year of college, I was playing a lot more viola than violin. I switched completely to viola in 1979.”

Palumbo has performed one faculty recital a year for the last 30 years he’s been teaching at WSU. Like Priest, he admitted viola isn’t as well-known of an instrument, but he said he believes recitals like his can be great learning experiences for the audience and for music students.

“It doesn’t matter what instrument,” Palumbo said. “It’s what you play and how you get the music across.”

Wang, Palumbo’s collaborater, is an internationally known violin performer who will accompany Palumbo during a violin and viola duet, “Three Madrigals.”

“Music was always my passion,” Wang said. “Violin is my passion, but it is only one aspect of music.”

Like Palumbo and Priest, Wang said he believes music has a way of communicating and connecting with the audience.

“Regardless of the purpose they are there, whether for class or enjoyment, every person should get something out of it,” Wang said.

Palumbo will perform on Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Priest will perform on Oct. 25, also at 7:30 p.m. Both performances will take place in the Allred Theater in the Browning Center.

Both faculty recitals are free of charge and open to the public. Children 8 years and older are welcome.